I placed Christine LeClerc’s “echoherence” in the fall, slightly off the track that used to lead to a train station on Bedell Road; the track cuts west-ish through carefully cultivated agricultural lands from the Kemptville Agricultural College and then runs south, edging the margin of forest and a small wetland that I haven’t yet explored. On walks through this area, at dusk, I have been sure I’ve heard the sound of dogs barking off in an rural estate style development, but after stopping to think about it, have recognized the sounds as that of owls, and not that far off. Acoustically, this section is quite rich a variety of calls in different seasons, or the sounds of wind or water movements. Often, especially in winter, footprints indicate that deer cross the track, entering in and out of the wetland and other places; this winter I saw mink and squirrel prints that crossed each other. Possibly there are bears somewhere in this section too, though they have rather vast ranges; there are certainly fox and coyote. The area hosts some rather large coyotes with whom I’ve crossed paths a few times now, either when riding my bike or on foot — once, a coyote paused, sitting, watching to see what I’d do, and another time a coyote crossed my path about five feet ahead of me with a long loping stride. I imagined, that time, that he/she had been sitting in the railway bed, blending in, the way a coyote will do. Rarely do I see others folks walking, although the track is well used; at times I use it to walk to Oxford Mills.
At the end of this track used to be a train station that would take folks from the area into Prescott or Ottawa. Friends who grew up in the area tell me that they used to take it when younger; at other points along the way you could apparently wait with your hankie and wave the train down.
Christine LeClerc’s contribution to rout/e comes from a collective glossary of ecological terms, edited by Linda Russo. Given the wendings of rout/e, I was appreciative of both Christine LeClerc’s contribution, and Russo’s overall project. Below is Russo’s introduction to her “Place-relation ecopoetics: A collective glossary”:
To be local is to be emplaced, to pertain to a particular site, to have spatial form. To “be a local” is to be from a here, but to be “local to” is to create a relation to a place, to create a notable here anywhere. “Local” from the Latin locus, meaning “place.” What lines of thought does poetry course along when written through/as relation(s) to place? How do poems articulate (conceive of, imagine, recreate) place as a site of relations? What forms of “local” do poems take?
Much of what might be gathered under the unfurled and unfurling banners of ‘ecopoetics’ expresses the complexity of speaking of (from/with) the human impacts on our (our/their) un/natural environments/ecologies. I’m interested in the gestures that relate poetries to places, and in how poets can help us comprehend and redefine our placed-ness and place-making practices. This commentary will index and explore more-or-less contemporary instances of emplaced poesis – of poetry as a form of inhabitance. (Russo: from the online contemporary poetics journal Jacket2).